Sunday, 27th September 2020

Impact of IoT for enterprise is sizeable – if we define our outcomes

By Ben Boswell, Director UK & Ireland, World Wide Technology.

The total potential impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) is estimated somewhere between $3.9 trillion–$11.1 trillion per year by 2025, according to McKinsey. However, the hype surrounding IoT can make it difficult to clearly identify useful applications that can make a positive impact on the workplace and on business results. Many IoT initiatives rush to deploy technology and fail to define outcomes. This approach can lead to a fragmented solution that may not be secure, sustainable or scalable – and which may fail to make any real difference in the workplace.

However, for those businesses who take a holistic approach to IoT deployment – keenly focusing on business outcomes and full integration with their existing technology architecture – there is great potential to get ahead.

There are a number of ways in which enterprises are currently seeking to exploit IoT technology. Some are looking to gather more insights from their business processes, or data visualisation to provide proactive responses such as predictive maintenance. Others want to provide better visibility of data to operation workers. Still others are interested in predictive analysis, workforce productivity and safety, as well as customer experience solutions.

From a workplace viewpoint, IoT can deliver some clever innovations to protect workers and give them the tools to be more efficient. Wearables, for example, can be used for utility and manufacturing workers to visually display where there is more risk, due to factor such as high voltage. In remote workplaces, sensors worn by individuals can alert and lead emergency services to the scene immediately if something goes wrong.

Over the next few years we are undoubtedly going to see IoT adoption in greater frequency – for example the phrase ‘Manufacturing 4.0’ describes the industrial applications of IoT which are turning ‘dumb’ factories ‘smart’ – and there will be great value for enterprises as it enables new business models and transforms processes.

But the key to all successful IoT strategies, whether in industrial, business process or workplace application, is to take a holistic approach. Without full consideration of the business need and the critical underlying IT infrastructure, there is the risk of wasting investment or even creating network and security issues. Taking time at the outset to define the specific impact desired from an IoT initiative is time very well spent.

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